Tag Archives: cooking

November 16 (belated): Chocolate Is Essential

I love chocolate. I may have mentioned how much I like chocolate in the last post. My husband is also in the process of making chocolate chip cookies. He spoils me and is no good for my waistline. Lol! But honestly, chocolate is essential to life and happiness. I am not talking scientifically. I am talking emotionally at least for me.

Eat Chocolate:

~ It is sweet and delicious! Yummy yum yum! There is nothing quite like the flavor of chocolate.

~ It gives a little high after you eat it. A temporary mood booster! Gotta love chocolate!

~ It isn’t too sweet! Some of the regular movie candies or hard candies or soft candies can be way too sweet. Chocolate on the other hand is perfectly sweet without being overbearing. You can even put things in the chocolate to make it a little more savory as well.

~ Its comforting. Ok, well this may just be a me thing or even a woman thing but chocolate is so comforting in times of grief or sadness or pain. I don’t know what it is.

What is your favorite chocolate?

See ya!

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November 15 (belated): Things I Wish I Was Better At

In case you guys haven’t heard, I am no savant. I am no genius. I really just am not great at a pretty decent amount of things. Now before you get all, “Ashley, don’t be so hard on yourself.” I am not being a Debbie Downer here. Just being honest. I have my faults just like everyone else! There are things I am halfway decent at and there are things I am not. It happens. Welcome to life!

Things I Wish I Was Better At:

~ Eating healthy. I am terrible at eating healthy. I am currently sitting here eating Moose Munch which is caramel corn and chocolate cover caramel corn mixed together. I love me some chocolate and I love me some caramel. I have a major sweet tooth which I try to subdue with berries or other fruit as often as I can but honestly, I just love sweets! I also love salt. Lots and lots of it! I have gotten better about not eating as much but I still just love it!

~ Working out. Or even just being more active. I would much rather just sit on the couch and watch Gilmore Girls while eating Ice Cream. You feel me? Why can’t that be exercising? Why can’t you burn more calories reaching for the remote? I mean for real, I just think we should work on that.

~ Cleaning the house. I am not bad at picking things up, such as laundry to put in the hamper. But honestly, I am terrible at vacuuming and dusting and mopping. I do not enjoy it so I avoid it as long as possible. Being married has made me try a little harder but TJ doesn’t mind so oftentimes he will get to it before I do.

~ Cooking. My food doesn’t taste terrible. I mean some recipes have just not worked out, but the majority has been relatively delicious. I mean I am terrible at mustering up the energy to make food. (Remember the couch scenario from above?) I just do not want to make food sometimes! I would much rather sit on my bum than stand in the kitchen and prepare a meal after working all day.

What do you wish you were better at?

See ya!

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Party Salad!

The other night, our friend TJ (not my TJ) had a Celebration of the Table party! He had made this beautiful table and wanted to celebrate it by having a feast! We never turn down an opportunity for delicious home cooked food. All of our friends make delicious food and so we were pretty excited. I had every intention of taking my camera to the party but I completely spaced. It was super fun with about 25 people there. We had ribs, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, grilled peaches and I brought a Black Bean and Corn Salad. I figured some veggies would be a nice addition to help balance things out. 

I got the recipe from Carrie over at Making Lemonade. Check it out and check out her great blog! Say hello while you’re there!

Black Bean Salad

Ingredients:

1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, thoroughly rinsed, and drained (or 1 1/2 cup of freshly cooked black beans)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, defrosted (or fresh corn, parboiled, drained and cooled)

1/2 cup chopped green onions or shallots

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced, or 1 whole pickled jalapeno pepper, minced (not seeded)

3 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks

1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

2 Tbsp lime juice (about the amount of juice from one lime)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sugar (to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

You mix everything together except for the sugar and the salt and pepper. 

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After you have it all mixed together, you add the sugar and salt and pepper to taste. 

I ended up tripling the recipe because of how big the party was and it turned out perfectly!

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If you are looking for a healthy addition to your summer parties, this is the way to go! It is so tasty and was a hit! 

What is a must have at your summer parties?

See ya!  

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March 2: What I Wore Today

Today was a bit busy so the post is earlier than last night but still rather late. Lol!

On a side note, I used my sewing machine all day! I made two headbands, one of which you will see in the picture below! And a foot/ lower back warmer (aka a pouch full of rice that you put in the microwave.) I had so much fun! Still learning about my sewing machine and how different things work on it, but progress is being made!

Here is what I wore today:

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That is a headband I made today! Yay!

For dinner I made a Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Pasta dish. Oh man, super delicious!

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You can check out the recipe here! So yummy!

Are you following along with the March photo Challenge?!

See ya!

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New Cookbook!

I got a new cookbook this week! It was kind of a splurge or investment if you will. I don’t usually buy cookbooks. I have a stack of them that I have gotten as gifts and I love them! I especially love the ones my mom made for me! But I usually end up finding stuff on pinterest and whatnot. This one is a cookbook that a friend of mine has. He always makes some of the best pastries and breads. I knew I had to have this book. The book is called Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson, the owners of the Tartine bakery in San Francisco. I got the book and have already made two of the recipes out of it. I made Buttermilk Scones and Fruit Gaelettes. Both were supremely delicious and a huge success with friends! 

The Scones recipe had them doing fruit but I had some chocolate chips I wanted to use. It turned out just as good. (Although, I think I will be doing raspberry scones tomorrow.) 

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I made them a little big but oh well! I think tomorrow I will cut the raspberry ones into littler squares.

Then I made the Fruit Gaelettes for dinner with some friends last night. 

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Oh man! They were so yummy! The strawberries were the freshest I have had since living in Fresno, California. They were amazing! So I made a Strawberry Apple Gaelette. The flavors were perfect together! A friend that was there last night, had no idea I made them and was going on about how we should hire the friend who originally had this book to make pastries for our hypothetical shop we want to open. He then was informed I made them. Lol. Best compliment ever! Being compared to someone who makes deliciousness! Yes! 

Anyway, had to share the yumminess!

See ya!

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V- Very delicious and Very healthy!

I love dessert. I feel like we have had this conversation. I love sweets too. Yum yum! So when I stumbled upon this quinoa apple bite recipe, I was sold. It is really pretty healthy for you and it is super tasty! Yum!

You can find the original recipe here.

It is dairy free!

Ingredients:

1 Cup cooked quinoa
1 Cup quick oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup chopped apples
2 eggs, lightly beaten

You mix all the ingredients together until just combined. Make sure you add them in order so that the mix well!

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The you place about a tablespoon of the mixture or so in a greased mini muffin tin and you bake them for about 15-20 minutes.

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Easy and delicious!

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Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

See ya!

P.S. sorry about the quality of pictures as of late. I have been taking pictures with my phone because my camera charger cannot be found and when I am out and about I forget to get a new one.

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N- New Car and Noodles!

We have a second car! It was most definitely needed! TJ is starting to do more work at his other job and I am still full-time at REI so we needed a second car. Plus, his job is up more in the mountains so we needed one that was more fuel efficient. We found one! It has been so awesome!
We got a little Honda Fit. Great gas mileage!
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Its like a mini mini van. It is awesome!

I also made this awesome recipe called Chicken Spaghetti but there is no red sauce in it. I found it here on pinterest.
It was a little time consuming but once it was all said and done, it was delicious!
I started with the chicken, I needed to precook it. CAM00267

I did that and shredded it up while I was sautéing the veggies.

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I love the smell of sautéing onions. I also had the noodles going at this point.

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Once they were all done, I mixed them all together with the velveeta mixture and put it in the oven.

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I let it bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden and juicy. Now, I forgot to take a picture after it came out of the oven because I was too excited to eat it. But I managed to get a picture before we finished this batch!

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How yummy! So so yummy!

You really should give it a shot!

See ya!

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K – Killer Meatballs!

I found this delicious recipe on Pinterest! I love spaghetti and meatballs. My mom can tell you, when I was little I would order spaghetti and meatballs and in trying to cut my meatball end up getting it on the table or floor. Thankfully, I have since then been able to keep my meatballs on my plate at least until the go into my tummy! I was looking to make a menu the other day, and decided meatballs was a good idea! And what better way to make meatballs than stuffed with mozzarella!

You can find the original recipe here.

I put all the ingredients together and made sure it was well mixed.

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Time to stuff and roll! I put the mozzarella balls in the center and rolled them into balls.
I then placed them on cookie sheets.

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We then bake them at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.
They turned out like this…

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Oozing mozzarella!! You can’t tell me those do not look delicious!

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And I must say, they were amazing!!!! Supremely amazing!! You can’t even begin to understand how delicious those meatballs are. There are some left over that we are going to put into meatball subs. I must say, you have to give these a shot. You will not regret making them.

Enjoy!
See ya!

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H- Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

Oh my goodness, I am excited about this post. I love pretzels. I love ham. I also greatly love cheese. I could stop right there and we would be set. But I found this recipe that is to die for. Granted I am not perfect when it comes to the kitchen so some of these pictures resemble my imperfections. Bear with me. They were super tasty though.

You can find the original recipe here.

Her pictures are wayyyyyy better. Even she admits though that she had some trials and tribulations with her batch.

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There you can see I have the dough all mixed and let it sit and rise for about a couple of hours.

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After it was done rising, I rolled it out in semi-thin sheets. Seriously, my prowess in the kitchen is unparalleled.

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I then put the ham bits and shredded cheese in the middle of the sheets. This next part was not easy. I must say.

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You then need to TIGHTLY roll it up. Mine was not tight enough…. my contents were spilling in the next step.  Cut them into pieces.

You then need to boil them in baking soda water. This is where those rolls needed to be rolled tightly. The ham was all in the bottom of my pot. Oh well.

You then bake them for about 15 minutes. When they are nice and golden, brush with some butter and sprinkle with some chunky salt. And you get this!

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Again, not an easy task. Delicious, but not easy. I might try my hand at just some regular pretzels next time. We shall see.

Enjoy!

See ya!

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Book Review: A Homemade Life

Ok, lets get something out on the table. I have a problem. Like it can be downright ridiculous sometimes. Take this week for example. I have read three books just this week. Granted a couple of them I had started and then put down to pick up another one but at least this one I picked up three days ago and I’m done. I plan on starting the next one when I am done posting this. So, like I said, I have a problem. 

I just finished reading A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. Oh my goodness, I loved this book. This book is essentially a recipe book but unlike other recipe books, she shares stories about how she got this recipe or memories that make this recipe one of her favorites. I love that. And let me say these recipes look simply amazing! Some of them she came about by accident. Some are from friends. Some are from family. You get a kind of biography as well as a recipe book in one volume! 

Pros: Her writing was so readable. It was also extremely relatable. You could picture her stories perfectly. You could also taste her recipes without actually making them. So awesome. I loved the shorter chapters. I could read a chapter at a time or several chapters at a time. She was not pretentious about her food or recipes. I love how she said that recipes are meant to be shared and that secret recipes are just frustrating! We all want to replicate something that we find delicious so why hide it?

Cons: I can’t think of any off the top of my head. She kept flip flopping between foodie and not foodie. But that is how I am too so that did not really bother me either lol. Right off the bat, I can’t think of anything. I hope she continues writing. 

Overall it was a really good read. Definitely made me want to go experiment with some simple ingredients a little more. It was a feel good kind of read. I loved her voice and the vibrance with which she painted her life. It was just lovely. 

Check it out! You can also check out her blog here

See ya!

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